tv Charlie Rose PBS June 23, 2012 4:00am-5:00am EDT
>> welcome to the program. we begin this evening with amy gutmann, the president of the university of pennsylvania. she talks about compromise in our national politics. her book is called the spirit of compromise. >> the role of the university is to speak truth to power but not be arrogant about it. because politics and business and other areas of life deal with people who have human psychology. and therefore we need to educate people not only about the ideal, the plutonic republic, but we also have to educate people about how you make democracy better one step at a time. and so civic education is a very important part of the university. the other part of the university is great discoveries. >> rose: we continue with adam johnson, author of the orphan masters son, a novel about north korea.
>> i don't want to say that nonfiction has failed us when it comes to north korea. there is a lot of important work being done and the larger themes. the economic realm, the nuclear realm, the military realm, et cetera. but trying to capture the human dimension is something that several writers have struggled with. and in the world of nonfiction there's almost no primary source to turn to. there's no access to the people there. the only thing that people who are writing from nonvision have are satellite photos and the testimony of defectors. so i think that literary fiction is designed to get just that psychological human dimension. >> rose: we conclude with tony award winner james corden. he currently stars in "one man, two guvnors" on broadway. >> pie best friend came over to new york the other day, my friend ben to watch the play. and he had seen it before in london. and he came to watch it again. and he said, he said the truth is you've been preparing your whole life for this part.
and i think he's probably right in that, you know, my whole life i've wanted to be-- i've wanted to act and be an actor and equally as much i wanted to be involved in comedy. and so to have this gift of a part kind of written for me, really, i mean it's a joy. >> rose: amy gutmann, adam johnson, james corden when we continue. funding for charlie rose was provided by the following:
. >> additional funding provided by these funders. : captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: amy gutmann is here, she is the president of the university of pennsylvania. she is also an author and political theorist. her latest book looks at polarization in american politics and how it hinders
cooperation in washington. it is called the spirit of compromise. i'm pleased to have amy gutmann at this table. welcome. >> my pleasure, charlie, thanks for having me. >> rose: you have re-upped for a third term, as they say. >> i have re-upped for a third term of duty. i love it. >> rose: what dow love about it? >> it's the best job in the world. it's a little bit like running a small medium sized city. i get to hire and recruit fabulous faculty. i get to work with the most generous alumni. >> rose: an you're shaping a generation of new young people for america. >> and that's the most important thing is we get to educate such great students from around the world now. >> rose: i agree. i think there are some really great jobs in america which i try to reflect all of them on this show. i think being a teacher is one of them, being an educator is one of them. >> and the educational need for our country to move forward as a democracy has
always been great. i think it's never been greater because you can't do as much today as you could when the founders created this country without an education, if you don't have an education, they of course thought an education was key to a democracy. and if that was true then it's all the more true now. >> so what's happened to us? not that we have lost, you know, our soul but that we find ourselves behind in areas that we used to take pride in leading. >> well, let's begin with our government. because that's an important part in the puzzle of what makes democracy work. we have a great constitution. but campaigning has taken over governing. we live in an era of the permanent campaign so we elect people to office. and then they company pain for office again. instead of moving the ball forward. so i think that's a big problem. and that's what propelled me to write the book with my wonderful co-author dennis thompson. and we thought we had to say,
give a diagnosis of the problem. and some of the solutions to it. for american universities which are still the greatest in the world, we really depend upon american democracy helping us move our country forward and to give opportunities. >> rose: you seem to say that the spirit of compromise is less presence today than it has been. >> it seems to be quite dramatically. and the causes of that are multiple. we have a 24/7 news cycle which has very narrow horse race coverage. and the horses are on steroids and the steroids are funded by the ubiquity of money and politics. money is more prevalent and important in politics than ever before. and relationships among congressmen and relationships of politicians to one another across the aisle have really faded as a consequence. so, in fact, compromise is
at a disadvantage when politicians are standing on principles and demonizing their opponents instead of making deals. >> rose: and people will argue the following too, that they no longer do politicians even-- they leave on thursday and they come back on tuesday. and so there is not much fraternization, if that's the word, between politicians when they are not fighting each other. >> and that's a critical absence. i like to say that in, when it comes to compromise, familiarity breeds attempt. >> rose: yes. >> that is if you don't know people, you don't even try. and that-- . >> rose: and you certainly don't trust. >> you don't trust. and if you are's campaigning all the time and raising money all the time, you're not spending the times that's needed with your colleaguesment colleagues who you can disagree with greatly but when push comes to shove, ted kennedy and orrin hatch made compromise after compromise that moved health care forward in this country.
>> rose: ronald reagan, tip o'neill. >> the tax reform act of 1986 was the greatest tax reform in arguably the century and it was ronald reagan and tip o'neill and dan and bob pack,. >> rose: there was also the notion of the relationship between bill clinton and newt gingrich which was strange but we got welfare reform. >> but we got welfare reform. and two members of clinton a cabinet resigned over it. but it moved the ball forward. now we're facing what many people are calling taxmageddon at the beginning of this coming calendar year, bush tax cuts will expire. the sequester will go into effect. if congress and the president don't do anything it will truly be a disaster. >> rose: it is what is called a fiscal cliff. the interesting thing about that fiscal cliff is the republicans will say that the president has not done anything and that he has really not been wanting to negotiate.
the president will simply say look, i tried to get congress to act on a job bill and they weren't prepared to do it. so it's almost like while rome burns, nobody is doing anything. >> yeah. and that's politics as normal fingerpointing at the other side. but if that isn't accompanied by actually sitting down and trying to craft a compromise, not only are the politicians going to be in trouble but more important this country is really not going to live up to its promise. and i'm an optimist. i think churchill is right. you can count on americans to do the right thing after they've tried everything else. i think we will face the music but it would be nice if there were more confidence in this country that our politicians actually wanted to govern. >> rose: when you look at this and write a book about it you and dennis thompson who i guess teaches at harvard, does he. >> yes, he does. >> rose: when you look at this subject do you find more republicans are responsible or more democrats are responsible? >> well, there's another book by norm ornstein who
say the republicans are more responsible. we don't really think it's productive to do that, even if it's right at the moment. because that's more of the same partisan polarization that is the problem, not the solution. the solution is to have grand compromises like simpson bowles and it works really well when there's polarization. >> but the tea party activists will say no, no, the solution is to believe in your principleses and act on your principleses. that's what we have lost. >> and principleses should be guideposts not roadblocks in politicsment politicians rarely go into politics because they always firmly stand on principleses and never make deals. even a majority of republicans and even at one point a majority of tea party supporters supported their own politicians making compromises in order to get out of the debt ceiling crisis. >> rose: and how much do you hold president obama responsible for this? because it is, the picture
you get from some, and these are not necessarily republicans, is that a person who is not that comfortable, in a sense, that he is-- that his approach is not to simply spend a lot of time with the opposition. his approach is not one that sort of is comfortable. >> so lbj was famously a great deal maker in congress. and he had the experience. and it's not an accident that it was mitch mcconnell and joe biden who sat down and made the move that got us out of the debt ceiling. >> rose: a long history in senate. >> long history, both of them in the senate. that matters a lot. which is one reason one should be a little skeptical about term limits. >> rose: what do we have to do? give me something specific so that it will be our guide. >> so most important specific thing right now is to rally behind some form of a simpson bowles compromise it is a compromise, it won't go through exactly the way you want it to be or the
other side wants it to bement but just say that you want to sit down at the table and craft something along those lines. both sides rallied behind it and then dropped it. so that would be a fabulous start. we have a real problem on our hands. a deficit problem in this country, an unemployment problem that's not going to be solved by january 1st. get to work. >> rose: get to work using simpson bowles. >> using simpson bowles as a template. and then start bargaining it through. that's what happened with the tax reform. that's what happened with simpson misoli the best immigration reform we had before. and everyone can point back and say we didn't like this or that about it. but the fact is that it's those kinds of big grand deals, civil rights act, that make this country great. and that solve the puzzle that american democracy was created to solve.
which is how do you, with such a varied, diverse population, a country of immigrants which had enormous problems, the biggest one being slavery, of course, enormous mars on its regard record, how do you move it forward. and we have a great set of institutions to do that, if only people would exercise leadership and compromise. >> rose: and the role of the university is. >> the role of the university is to speak truth to power but not be arrogant about it because politics and business and other areas of life deal with people who have human psychology. and therefore we need to educate people not only about the ideal, the plutonic republic, but we also have to education-- educate people about how you make democracy better one step at a time. and so civic education is a very important part of the university. the over part of the university is great
discoveries. >> rose: yeah, see that's exactly right. >> and that we have a doctor carl june, we have many fabulous doctors, but just to pick one example. carl june who has been for decades working on combatting cancer. and just last year he discovered a way of taking t-cells, reengineering a patient's t-cells. people who have chronic lymphocytic leukemia and are dying, and reinjecting these t-cells and they have gone into remission. the tumors have disappeared. he just did it on a 7-year-old child. a 7-year-old girl was dying and now her cancer is in remission. that is got to be a very important part of what we are as universities. >> rose: we think of universities as giving you two things. they give you knowledge and they give you tools to seek knowledge. >> uh-huh. >> rose: but universities are such a laboratory for new ideas. >> we are-- . >> rose: and new discoveries,
as you just suggested. you know, and for new ways of thinking about old ideas. >> if we don't do that, we're not doing our job. and we do that day in and day out. and one of the reasons we're laboratories is we have these great faculty who are passionate about new ideas and teaching. but it's also because we are a calderon of bright students who come and challenge faculty members. and i think that's why we're the best in the world right now because we teach in a way that encourages-- . >> rose: higher education in america is the best in the world. >> because we teach in a way that encourages our students to be creative. and when i go to china and speak there, the question that i get that's most heart warming is how do you teach creativity. and you don't teach creativity by rout, obviously. but you teach it by the way you challenge students to ask questions and now come up with discoveries. >> rose: and do you think the chinese are learning that lesson and teaching that, providing that kind
of-- that kind of laboratory where it can happen? >> i know that that's the lesson they want to learn from us. i also know that they can only fulfill that desire if they really respect academic freedom and freedom of speech more generally in society. but what we have to learn from them is there is a passion in their society from the ground up for more and more education. and i am afraid sometimes that our leaders as well as some members of the public are starting to is doubt how important education is in individual lives and in public lives. >> rose: and to look at sometimes alarming statistics where we've fallen behind in that. >> tremendously behind. and we are really have to do something about our k through 12 educational system. teachers i think, are doing god's work. and we all know, we've all had great teachers in our life. i can name every single one of my teachers who made a difference in my life.
and we have to really make our k through 12 system more robust. and if we do, and if we invest in the kind of research that produces creative discoveries i think there's no stopping us as a country. i'm a big believer in american democracy. >> rose: here are some quotes on compromise. all government, indeed, every human benefit, every prudent act is found in compromise and barter, that from edmund burke. >> great conservative. >> rose: a politician has to make many compromises that he becomes indistinguishable from a street worker. you might manage from mengin. and then this, if politics is the art of possible, compromise is the artistry of democracy. that would be you. >> thank you so much, charlie. >> rose: the book called the spirit of the compromise. why government-- why governing demands it, and campaigning undermines it. thank you. >> thank you. >> rose: back in a moment. stay with us. north korea is the world's
last stalinist state and the latest to join the nuclear club. the death of president kim jong il renewed concerns about the stability of this nuclear arm nation. his youngest son succeeded him giving us a glimpse into this mysterious and oppressive regime. a new novel gives us another point of view, adam johnson say creative writing professor at stamford. his book is called the orphan master's son. i'm pleased to have him here at this table. welcome. >> great to be here. thank you. >> rose: the first thing that people really look at is they say this guy has some real insight into the way north korea works yet he has written a work of fiction, not a work of journalism or, in fact, of reporting. >> well, i don't want to say that nonfiction has failed us when it comes to north korea. there's a lot of important work being done in the larger themes. the economic realm, the nuclear realm, the military realm, et ceterament but trying to capture the human dimension is something that several writers have
struggled with. and in the world of nonfiction, there is almost no primary sources to turn to. there's no access to the people there. the only thing that people who are writing from nonfiction have are satellite 2309 owes and the testimonies of defectors. and so i think that literary fiction is designed to just, to get just that psychological human dimension. >> rose: so what did you turn to other than your own imagination? >> well, i did use my imagination a great deal. most of the research i did was open source when i began researching the book in 2004. it was much more difficult to get information about north korea. but you know, as the last six or seven years have evolved in terms of bringing forth testimonials of defecters, a great deal of human information has come on-line, have been accessible to everyone. >> rose: but it seems a contradiction. you si a great deal of television has come on-line with defecters but yet the criticism of nonfiction was they depended on defectors.
>> well, i would say that it's difficult for nonfiction to use the testimony of defectors because it is unverifiable. it's unconfirmable. it's just human stories. but when it comes to literary fiction that's all you need. >> so what say picture that we draw from this about north korea? ness. >> well. >> where is it sold and where is its ambition and where is it's, you know, future. >> well, that's a big question. you know, one of the things i think i found from looking at the testimonials of defectors, they come to i a place, when they get to south korea, and almost everyone who makes it from north korea to south korea goes to a special facility where their biographyes are taken down. they are taught how to adjust to life in south korea. they are immediate medical aide is seen to. dentistry is their number one need when they get to the south. but their stories come out in great bulk there. and it's a world 6 poverty.
it's a world without spont nayity. it is a world in which there is a single national narrative written by the government. and every single person in that nation is con scripted to be a secondary character to serve that regime so people come to the south not knowing how to be the center of their own lives. not knowing that there are divergent possibilities for living life. large abstractions that we take for granted like freedom are very complicated and difficult for them when they get to the south. so i think it's a realm in the north where most people can survive a fairly decent life depending on how far you live from the capital as long as you don't want to live your life. >> rose: how did this impression you had change after your trip? >> well, i went to the democrat-- democratic people's republic of korea in 2007. hi been working on the book for a couple of years at that point. so i few some of the things i wanted to see very specifically it was a cat and post game with my team of minders there. if i showed too much
interest in something i was certain not to see testimony but some of the realms my book explores are areas that glorify the government and so when i wanted to see the revolutionary martyr cemetery, for example, they were very excited about that. but it's illegal for a citizen of a foreigner to speak to a citizen of the deep erk. you could fall into great scrutiny for a person to speak to someone from the outside. so i knew i wouldn't have a genuine interaction with anyone. and as a fiction writer, knowing that every person i came across had a story, an important story to tell that i couldn't get to, really made me want to individuate everyone i could get to. >> rose: what do you mean by that. >> to bring each person to life in a particular-- and not to see them as a great mass. when you're in the capitol throngs of people are moving
very briskly with great determination toward what, i wondered. what were their lives, and their jobs and their apartments like. i saw people strolling by the river, lover os, families picnicking, old men playing at their boards. but like i said it's very circumscribed there. and plus the capitol is oz. if you have made it there, you're an elite. to get to live in the capitol you have to have a good rating which is your family loyalty, tracing all the way back to the revolution of three generations. so you know, one of the things i found in my research is that you know, the elite, the few percent that live in the capitol pretty much have life good. their kids are going to be educated instead of indoctrine ated. they're going to have decent jobs. during the famines in the late 90s they didn't tend to starve there. but the father you get from the countryside, the more imperiled you are. the less resources, food, fuel,. >> rose: so you get into the
countryside. >> that's right. if you can just draw a radii out from the capitol, that's why i set my book in the farthest point from the capitol so when the floods in the late 90s, in the famine at that point, these were the people who fared the absolute worst. and i set my book in a place that saw the worst of the worst. and then my character slowly moves throughout the novel toward the center of power. but an interesting thing is that people don't tend to defect from pyongyang for this reason. they tend to know that they have it made. it's a parasitic relationship with the peasantry in the countryside. so the people who leave are all from the country and they bring their stories with them. and we know a gate deal about life in the countryside. it's pyongyang that is a mystery. >> rose: for them and for us. >> i believe so. >> rose: and so what will bring change? >> well, that's a question that everyone is trying to figure out.
i won't say that i have an answer. i do know that in north korea, there's only been one narrative since the war. it's that the kim dynasty is made up of three benevolent leaders who have nothing but their best interests, the best interests of the people at heart. and it's the only thing people have known for three generations. so there's no alternative narrative in that nation. there's nothing for anyone else to embrace. and until there's another paradigm. until there's another story, until there's-- you know there are critiques from the outside that get in. but of course the regime has it set up as everyone on the outside is an enemy and of course they would say these lies. >> rose: how do you defect. >> well, you can't go to the south because america has millions of landmines in the dmz. and people must go to the north. it's mountainous. they can cross either the tumen or alo river it is actually quite easy in certain times of the year.
in the summers they are low, in the winters frozen and easy to cross. the borders are more and more porous. often people go back and forth in trade, they go and get tran cyster radios or rice and come and sell them. there is lots of business in that way. so people defect to the north. but there it's very difficult to survive. there's a repatriation agreement with china so that a farmer knows that if he finds a defect never his field he can call his own government and they will send this person back to north korea to a grim fate. >> rose: so if a chinese farmer calls the government and says there's a defecter, someone has come across and i can see them on my farm or the farm i work. >> that's right. >> rose: then the government of china. >> china, returns them do. >> rose: why do they do that? >> well, they have an agreement in that way. it's to prevent mass defections. china does not want millions of people who have no education about the world who have no sense of personal empowerment to
flood their country. >> rose: but that is the ultimate fear, the reason they haven't de more, the chinese, is that they thing they fear the most is this sort of mass exodus across their borders making complicated decisions for them. >> that's right. and the chinese also know that if unification comes it will be on south korea's terms and they're allies with us. we have 30,000 troops there, we park our nuclear submarines there. they do not want those forces coming up to their border. also some say that china is happy to have north korea take all the negative attention from the region and be the place of ba foonery, less scrutiny falls upon them. and also the south for all their good intentions and for all they say to the contrary, they can barely handle a few thousand people a year coming from the north into the south, who have never seen a stoplight before. there's not a stoplight in north korea. they don't know how money works. >> rose: because there are no cars, or because what? >> in the capitol one of
the-- the capitol is a show city so it's built in a grand fashion but also, you know, americans bombed the north mercilessly during the korean war. we had two big global air forces that we put on one small peninsula. and you know, we bombed pyongyang until three buildings were standingment and they haven't forgotten that all the boulevards are 100 meters wide to facilitate mass evacuation should we bomb them again. and so the streets are so wide and there are so many lanes and so few cars that there are low odds of this them hitting each other. there are beautiful woman who have batons who stand in the intersections and conduct traffic. >> rose: can the world and can the world community tolerate north korea with nuclear weapons? >> hmmmm, well, you know, i was-- . >> rose: does it change the regime or does it change the behavior? >> well, i was speaking to
steve at a dinner not too long ago. he's the world's foremost expert. he's been there to inspect the facility, ten of the last 11 years. and you know, i think he feels pretty comfortable. i don't want to speak for him but my impression was they lack a delivery system. these are large bulky things. the real threat that the north has against the real leverage it has against the world is korean war era artillery, thousands of artillery pieces that are dug in and entrenched, sunk in to fortified tunnels, barrels pointed up so they can only aim at seoul, just north of the dmz. and they can make it, these shells, those 30 kilometers. and if all those piece goes at once they can lob tens of thousands of shells in a matter of minutes. and it's old technologies that's the real threat right now. >> rose: pleasure to have you here. >> thank you much. >> rose: the orphan masters
son, a novel. all about north korea, back in a moment. stay with us. jame corden is here, he currently stars in one man two governor-- guvnors on broadway is in the english he is side down of brighton in the 1960s. it is based on the 18th century as far as the servant of two masters by carlo goldoni. ben brantley of "the new york times" called the play ideal escapism for anxious times. corden's performance is considered one of the joys this broadway season. i'm pleased to have him here at this table for the first time. welcome. >> great to have you. >> great to be here. >> so tell me who francis hench ill is. >> francis henchim is a guy who has been fired from a band. the play is set in 1963. and he's been fired from a band because the wol band went to see the batest and realized that they didn't need a washboard player any
more, they needed a drummerment and they fired him and so he is down on his luck. and he's unemployed. and he desperately needs to earn some money because he hasn't eaten for 16 hours. sow takes one job. and then very greedly takes another job and tries to juggle the two jobs thinking if i can get through today with these two jobs i'll earned enough money so i can have a really good feed and then hopefully try to go out and find a girl to get into bed with at the end of the night. and that's-- it's very, very simple, it is the ambition of all of us, isn't it, charlie-- charlie, he's no different to you and i. at some point in every man's life that's been all of our ambitions. so he, and the truth is, with the play like most plays you have to talk about the plots and the characters and what's driving them. the beauty of this play is that it's essentially our only aim is to try and make you laugh as much as possible, that's it and the plot is intrinsic and interesting but it's very silly and it grows in the
way that the kind of best farces do. >> rose: and he's very human. >> incredibly human. >> rose: he's mischievous. >> he's cheeky. >> rose: he's cheeky. >> and he shares a connection with the audience which is for me the loveliest part to play in it. and throughout the play, el he be involved in a scene, you know, as we are now and every now and then he'll turn and reach out to the audience and tell them exactly what's going on the and the play will carry on n the greatest tradition of what carlo goldoni tried to do in 1963. >> rose: what should we say about the two people he works for? >> he works for-- he workforce a gangster called roscoe crab and an english country ghent if you like called stanley stubers. and these two, yeah, they don't know that each other are in brighton at the same time and they also don't know that they have both
employed this guy to runner rands for them. and you know, hill after-- hilar usy ensighs. >> rose: what is it that makes this so lovable and enjoyable so that you win a tony award for it? >> well, i don't know quite how or why i won a tony award for it. i mean lovely as it s it's not for me to answer. but what makes the-- what makes the show, i think such a pleasurable experience for an audience is that in one sense it encapsulates and holds together all the greatest temples if you like of british comedy. >> right. >> it's silly and it's as far as and it's, you know, that kind of great in one door and out the other running around. and for some people that is their idea of hell in a theatre. but i think what is great about our show is that in one sense it's incredibly traditionalment and in another it might be the most modern play that's currently
on in new york in that we do things in our show, we subvert the play in a way that i don't think any other play has done in new york before in that you never quite know quite what is real or what's happening or what isn't. and it's-- we use the audience throughout the play, members of the audience are asked questions or asked to hold things or brought o and you know, it's incredibly modern in one sense and yet incredibly traditional and comfortable in another. >> and incredibly improvisational. >> yeah, the impro adviceation or aspect of it is, you know, tonight when we do the show tonight it will be our 328th show. and yet technically actually we've never done the same show twice. because so-- every night whenever any audience comes to see the play, more than any other show, it's as completely unique to that night and that night alone. >> do you strife to make a difference or do you simply react by instinct to what makes up that. >> yeah, you want to use instinct.
it's at its best. the show is at its best when it's flying by the seat of its pants and you never quite know whose's having more fun, whether us on the stage or the audience. and we try to make it up and change it as much as we can every night because it's what keeps it-- kind of vibe rates the play, if you like. if there was a verb to use for it, that is what it would be. and it's at its very best when the audience feel that it's really live and alive by its very notion of what's going on, you know. >> here's you at the tony award performing a scene in which francis talks to himself about having two bosses is. >> i've got two jobs. you got constance with two jobs i mean i can do it, as long as i don't get confused. but i do get confused easily but i don't get confused that easily, yes, i doment my own worst enemy, stop
being negative, i'm not being negative, i'm being realistic i always do you screw up it, the me, yeah, you, you are the mess up, don't you call me a mess up, you mess up. you slapped me, yes, si did and i'm glad i did becaus because-- good, because you-- slapped me. >> yeah,-- get your d -- you-- get up, come here, get up, come here, get up, come here, get up, come here, get up, come here-- get off, come here-- no, no, you wouldn't dare! what wouldn't i! >> what was that? >> i didn't know they were filming at the time that is just something i do in my spare time. s than that's a moment where francis suddenly realizes that he's taken on these two jobs and that he can do it and then he has this whole, as you can see, that's it, that's a minute that we
haven't cut so, that is one minute that just exists in the play. >> rose: what prepared to you do this? ness i don't know if you can wreep prepare to do this really, in one sense my best friend came over to new york the other day, my friend ben to watch the play. and he had seen it before in london and he came to watch it again and he said, he said the frut is you've been preparing your whole life. >> exactly. >> for this part. and i think he's probably right in that, you know, my whole life i've wanted to be i wanted to act and be an acker and equally as much a wanted to be involved in comedy. and so to have this gift of a part kind of written for me really, the play didn't exist, nicholas hytner who directed the play called and said dow want to come and do a play at the national theatre next year. and i said yes. and he said you don't want to know what it is. i said i don't mind f it's national theatre and are you directing it then i will do testimony so enthen commissioned richard bean to write this new adaptation.
and we signed up to do 70 performances at the national theatre. and then it became the fastest-selling show in the history of the national theatre. we then moved to the west end and it became the highest grossing play in the history of the west end ever. and then we now came here and we won the critics best play and drama best play and-- i won best ago ever, all three. and it's taken on a life of its own really. so for me it's just a joy. however hard it s i mean and that's just one minute but the whole kind of play is about energy for me. and it's difficult eight times a week but i am so aware of you had important it is to be a ground breaking and show. >> rose: is it a movie. >> you mean could it be a movie. i don't think so i think people can sometimes make a mistake when you try an turn plays into movies because-- of course it wob a movie, anything could be a
movie this could be a movie t would just be a bad one, do you know what i mean, like. >> rose: you broke my heart. >> no, will you be good in it, i will be awful. the question isn't could it be a movie. the question is could it be a good movie and i'm not sure it could. because i think it relies on it being live and happening there and then, you know. >> take a look at this, another scene from the play in which you talk to dolli, a girl you love. >> yeah. >> roll tape. >> a friend of mine likes you. >> what's his name. >> patti. >> what's he look like. >> he could be a movie star. >> he's a good looking lad. he si big boned. >> how did he get big boned. >> the usual, nature, nurture.
>> he likes his food, yeah. >> does he prefer eating or making love. >> it's a tough one that, isn't it. >> it's a joy to play this character, isn't it. >> it really s it si gift for me and any other ago their will get to do it. over the years, i think it's one of the best, i think it's one of the best comedy characters that ever's been written on stage for someone of my age. you know, and it really is, i think it's up there with some of the most challenging. and best comedic roles around. and so to have been there at the very start is, you know, almost a little overwhelming sometimes, you know. but it's-- yeah, it's a joy to play. it's a joy to do it. >> here is what is also great about it. you have said that if there is a mistake for you, for some people it's a disaster. >> yeah. >> so you get the lines wrong, it is a disaster, you go out the wrong way. for you is an opportunity.
>> oh, it's the best. our best fights are when things go wrong. when stuff goes wrong the show is at its very best well. had a show that we did in london where we were in the west end. and doors are really important in farce. working doors are as important as it can get and we had one show where gordon brown was actually in the audience, former prime minister. and he was-- and i know him quite well and his lovely wife and they were in. so we were all a little nervous and thinking are you performing in front of, you know, the exprime minister. and one of the door handles came off it just came off and there was nothing we could do and i just had to stop the play and say look, i'm really story. this is broken. and we really need this to work. so i'm not sure what we're going to do. and then someone handed me a power drill. and i just drilled the door. and then we carried on. but because hi drilled the door it continued to break three or four times
throughout the show. and at every point it just got funnier until an actual, one of the crew had to come on and drill the door. but it took about four minutes. so i just started taking questions from the audience and having a chat and it was, it's probably the biggest reaction of the show we've ever had because ultimately what people want when they go to the these certificate to feel like what they're watching is absolutely just for them. >> and want the unexpected. >> they want the unexpected. >> no one has seen this like i've seen this tonight. >> yeah, and i don't think there is any other play that guarantees that or the opportunity for that more than ours. >> and that appeals to every instinct you have as an actor. >> yeah, well as a person, reallyment because you always want things to be fun. like ultimately. that's all you really want, isn't it, just to have a nice time and it's at its best when the audience, you know, some of the noises, tim the stage door guy who works for the music box theatre where the play is on at the moment has worked there since 1982. he's worked the stage door.
he said he didn't know it could be as loud as it is in the auditorium right now. >> rose: one more scene. this is where you have to make an explanation for one of the bosses, role tape. >> i've got to be very careful what i say here. -- who was given by his previous employer in lew of payment before he died or before him. >> before de what. >> before he did die. >> de die, did he. >> de. >> what did he die of. >> he was diagnosed with diarrhea but he died of diabetes. >> he died of diabetes, didn't he. >> de, didn't he. >> you were there. >> when. >> when he was diagnosed with diarrhea but died of diabetes. >> no,. >> and he died in -- >> what did he die. >> he didn't die of diarrhea he died of diabetes. >> in daggattham. >> oh, patty said it was a couple of days ago. >> rose: this is not easy. >> no, it's never easy, every night, it's really, you know, it's tough, it's hard and it's physically
exhausted and mentally quite tiring. but you know, you can't complain about it. if you are complaining about being in a hit show on broadway then you should go shall did --. >> you have a larger problem. >> these are high-class problems you are talking about. >> is the american audience different than the british audience. >> it's not, you know, if anything it's better, think, you know, the show has been received with such warmth here. there's a great thing in new york audiences which the last play i did here the history boys which felt exactly the same where there's a warmth among audiences where you feel like when they come into the theatre and they sit down in the auditorium that they really want to have a good time that they really want it to be a good night in the theatre. and that's far more prevalent. you feel so much more than when we did in londonment you almost feel this surge of like warmth and love and at the end of every night, like we have never not had a standing ovation here.
and it's, you know, it's amazing. the whole company-- it's such a joy to do it in new york. and to live in new york for five months, like if are you like me from a small town outside of london, you dream of just visiting new york, let alone getting to live and work here, you know. let alone meeting someone like you, charlie this is it. this is it my mum won't believe it, you know. >> so you see yourself not as a comedian, but as an actor who does comedy. >> yeah, well, i'm just an acker who is in come in a comedy at the moment. you know, i don't think-- i think if you just just say oh i'm a comedy actor, then you are kind of limiting your ability and capabilities is so i don't consider myself, i've never considered myself a comedian and i am-- i am just an actor who is in a comedy at the moment. and you know, you always want to surprise people. and i hope that the next
time i get to come and work it will be in something completely different to this. and then different again. and that's the key i think to having a long and sustainable career, you know, touch wood. >> exercising different muscles. >> yeah. >> dow like jonah hill. >> i love the man, yeah, he's wonderful. there is a prime example of someone who you would just consider as an actor who is in these kind of come december and then you watch a brilliant movie like money ball and it is completely surprising and you go wow, i didn't know he was capable of that. and but that's true of the whole world. like imagine if everybody knew what their talent was and everybody -- dk like we really are so quick to kind of pigeonhole people, that all we ever really do is just scratch the surface of people's abilities. and i think he is the primest example of that, you know. >> but do you think are you using more of your abilities than most of your colleagues. >> no, i think you're all-- if you are an actor are you just-- it is like
are you an orchestra. if you are an acker you are a member of a band. whether you are playing second collar inette or first violin all you can really do whether it be in film, tv or on the stage is just do your bit to the best of your ability. and everything else, if it comes out and it all sounds great, that's really, there's a lot of luck in there you know, all these hits, any hits are all half chance not one knows anythingment nobody knows anything in this businessment like that's the truth of it. and everyone is just trying to do the best they can. and and so you know i don't think i'm doing any more than anyone else in our show t just so happened. >> there's no magic formula. >> those, you just have to try your best. >> the truth is the harder you work the better chance there will be of something being good, you know. >> bill knight one of my favorite actors was here recently. >> he's wonderful. >> he said will never try shakespeare, doesn't want to try shakespeare. do new. >> i would like to one day, yeah. i think because i understand
his have any great ambition to join like a company at the rsc for a year or anything like that but i would certainly give it a shot. i don't know if i will be very good but i will give it my best. i don't think -- >> to take the challenge. >> yeah, but then i'm a lot younger than bill. and so i think, you know, bill is been around the block long enough to know what he wants to do. i don't know if i do yet, do you know what i mean. i feel like everything i'm doing is a new challenge and experience. a new-- you know you what don't want to do and what you do want to do with every job, really. >> by doingness with history boys was a bittersweet experience. >> no it was only sweet. >> rose: it was only sweet. >> yeah, no, way-- . >> rose: every part of it. >> yeah, it was amazing. yeah there was nothing-- it was the greatest experience of all of our lives. >> rose: did it change anything for you. >> it changed everything, yeah.
because you know, you get to work with allen bennett and nick for that long and you make some of your best friends in the world like dominic cooper, one of history boys used to be my plat mate. he introduced me to my future wife. you know what i mean f i hadn't done that job i definitely wouldn't be-- i definitely wouldn't be sitting here now and i wouldn't have a beautiful son and i wouldn't be getting married, you know, that's the amazing thing about those jobs. >> rose: when are you getting married. >> i get married in september. >> rose: and you met her because of your friend. >> yeah, yeah. >> rose: so what's on the horizon for you? >> well, we're doing the play here, we're here until september 2nd. and then i start shooting a film in about three weeks, i'm doing a film called-- a song and save your life with keira knightley and mark ruffalo directed lie john carney who made the film once. and it's written and directed by him. and then i go home and i'm doing in october i start a film directed by a wonderful director called david frankel who made the devil
wears prada and marley and me and this wonderful new film called one chance which is about a man called paul potts who is from a small mining town in wales who drem of being an opera singer and against all odds went on to sell 6 million albums. i'm going to play him, harvey weinstein is producing that film. so we start that in october. and then i've written a new tv show for the bbc which we start shooting in january. a new comedy show. >> rose: and in the meantime you'll sleep in between. >> i will sleep at some point although i have a 14 month old son and he doesn't seem too keen on that happening. so at some point we'll sleep. but you know. >> rose: one last thing this is part of your acceptance speech. tell me, take me to that night before we see this, it's the tony awards. >> well, it's the tony awards and you know, i was nominated alongside four of my heroes, it was myself, on a list with john lithgow, frank langella, james earl
jones and philip seymour hoffman. and if are you me, you have no, it is not even in your mind that you might win that award, like it is so far out of the realm of possibility, like to even, to even be nominated is a miraculous thing. and i was thrilled just to be nominatedment and really turned up with no-- i didn't even think for a second that i would be-- that i could possibly win it. >> rose: an when they announced your name. >> i just can't quite take it-- you know, you just think-- its-- i done even really-- i don't even remember the walk from my chair to the stage. i remember seeing andrew garfield who i have known for a long time. and from back home. and he shook my hand. and then you walk past philip seymour hoffman who i
genuinely believe could be one of the greatest actor as live, if not the best. and then you just-- there mr. so many people that i wanted to mention. the most important thing i wanted to say was that i wanted to mention the other four nominees. and tell them that being on a list with them was enough for me. and that the truth is when it comes to act, when it comes to something like acting there is no such thing as best, there just isn't. no one can be a best acker. no one is a better actor, you know what i mean, no one can be the best acker. it's all opinion. and i wanted to say that. and i wanted to thank the cast and the creator team on the play. and my girlfriend, you know. >> rose: roll tape. >> si have to thanks, i have to-- say john lithgow and james earl jones, and frank langella and my favorite act never the world philip see more hoffman, to be on a
list with you was enough and holding this, i honestly it just reminded me that there is no such thing as best, honestly i am overwhelmed. hytner and richard bean and mcchrystal, our brilliant cast, tomorrow and oly and jemima and danny and claire and susie and everyone, i share this with them completely, producer who took a huge risk bringing this ridiculously silly play to your city. your city, the audiences here who have embraced our show like we never ever imagined they could. every night is a joy. my girlfriend who-- i'm so sorry this is ridiculous-- it is good it's not hot in here, isn't it. (applause)
my girlfriend julia gave birth to our son like five days before we started rehearsals. and she's my baby momma and i can't wait to marry her and-- (applause) i would not be holding this if it wasn't for her. she make me say us instead of i and we instead of me. and i love her. thank you very much. (applause) >> i mean, you know, i'm just thrilled to be able to even have the opportunity to say those things, you know. but she really z she gave birth to our son five days before we started rehearsals, in the 15 months we've been doing this play it has essentially been bringing up two children, like on i'm such a baby, you know, i come home and gi-- oh i really hurt my shoulder during tonight's show. she just looks at me like i've had three hours sleep in the last 40 hours, you
know. and it has a great way of making you realize quite how irrelevant this is in the brand scheme of things so i was just thrilled i was able to say that to her. and you know, she's the greatest woman i ever met so it's nice to be able to thank her now and then. >> rose: i'm thrilled would you come here. >> it's been an absolute honor for me. thank you so much. >> rose: thank you. i should say that one man two goff norse at the music box theatre through september 2nd. james corden. thank you for joining us. see you next time captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org